Non-payment of household tax urged

Wed, Mar 21, 2012, 00:00

THE SECOND-LARGEST trade union in the State has urged its members not to pay the household charge.

Unite yesterday called on its 60,000 members not to register for the charge ahead of the March 31st deadline.

Unite was among several trade union groups which yesterday voiced their opposition to the €100 household charge.

“We are urging people not to register and will stand beside those who are willing to show courage and resist the charge,” spokesman Rob Hartnett said at a press conference.

The union is not opposed to a property tax but to the idea of a flat rate charge, he said. It wants members to “push the Government towards a fairer and more equitable solution”.

The union, representing lower paid civil and public servants, also called on the Government to scrap the charge yesterday.

The Civil, Public and Services Union was not urging members to boycott the charge.

Motions on backing the non-payment campaign and taking industrial action over the charge will be discussed by members at the union’s national conference next month, a member of the union’s executive, Terry Kelleher, said yesterday.

The general feeling of members was that “once again the lower paid are hit the hardest”, and the most vulnerable were being “made to pay for the crimes of the wealthy”, Mr Kelleher said.

This position was reinforced more by the household charge than any other Government initiative, he said.

The Dublin Council of Trade Unions welcomed the campaign against the charge and supported “efforts of the organisers to encourage people not to register and not to pay”, Des Derwin of the umbrella body noted yesterday.

The executive of the council took up the position at its February meeting, he said. The body represented most trade unions in Dublin but not all unions have taken up this position, he added.

So far some 280,000 of the 1.6 million households in the country have paid the charge.

Householders were aware that they were in a “significant majority” of people who had not registered, Mr Hartnett said.

“If there was already a million and a half people registered for this charge, then people may not have the same level of courage,” he said.

Dublin City Council Socialist Party councillor Ruth Coppinger, who is part of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, acknowledged the number of householders paying would increase before the March 31st deadline.

“There is a myth being perpetuated that people simply are confused and don’t know how to pay it . . .

“I think that is out of touch with the reality,” she said.

Householders felt this charge would increase and this was one charge they had power to withhold, she said.

The campaign is to mount a protest rally at the National Stadium, Dublin, on Saturday.

Trade union Siptu last month called for the Government to suspend the imposition of the charge until a “fair and progressive property tax” could be introduced.

PAYING THE CHARGE

Online: It can be paid on the household charge website householdcharge.ie

By post
: A new account registration form must be completed and sent with a cheque, postal order or bank draft made payable to “Household Charge”, the Local Government Management Agency, PO Box 12168, Dublin 1.

Forms: Are available to download from city or county councils; libraries; Citizen Information Centres or Lo Call 1890 357357 and can be downloaded from the household charge website.

In person: Payment can also be made directly to city or county council offices.

Do not: Payment cannot be made at post offices.